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Erin Brockovich’s Latest Campaign: Stop Permanent Birth Control Procedure

Update Date: Oct 11, 2013 02:04 PM EDT

Erin Brockovich is known for heading a multimillion-dollar case against Pacific Gas and Electric Co in 1993. The case that she had against the company for groundwater contamination was also popularized in a 2000 film titled Erin Brockovich, which starred Hollywood actress, Julia Roberts. After over a decade, Brockovich has a new campaign. Her latest grassroots campaign aims to stop a popular and permanent form of birth control called the Essure procedure.

After several complaints have arisen regarding this procedure and its severe adverse side effects, Brockovich has decided to launch a campaign to take the birth control procedure off the market. She first heard about the procedure over a year ago and as the number of bad experiences kept increasing, Brockovich decided to look into it.

"So I started a website and was actually very overwhelmed how quickly it built from 50 to a couple hundred to now thousands of stories of women," said Brochovich reported by CBS News.

She added, according to ABC News, "There's something wrong with the device, in my opinion. It's a form of permanent birth control, and women's organs are being perforated...It's ridiculous that at any level we try to defend this. If 30 women did suffer harm for unknown reason, we'd investigate. We have thousands injured. I don't think it's safe."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Essure in 2002. When it was approved, the FDA gave Essure preemption status, which meant that women could not sue even if they have suffered from the product. Essure, which is owned by Bayer, is a non-surgical procedure that is supposed to be the cheaper, easier and safer alternative to tubal ligating. The Essure procedure places bendable coils into the fallopian tubes. During this process, the scar tissues that develop around the coils work to block the tubes from becoming inseminated.

"[Bayer] should care about the health and welfare of all people," Brockovich stressed. "Especially women and children in this country. If this many are reporting injuries, take it off the market. It's not working. These women are misled. They feel they were scammed."

According to the numbers provided by Conceptus, who designed and created Essure, over 700,000 women have gotten his procedure. Out of this number, 800 of them reported negative side effects from the product. Despite these cases, the company has over 400 peer-reviewed publications that find the product safe to use. The company also provides a warning label that states that women with unusual uterine shape should not undergo this procedure. However, despite this warning, doctors might not be as educated about the product, which could contribute to the many horror stories.

"The medical community doesn't know how to deal with this," stated Joleen Fuller, who received the procedure, which resulted in a life-threatening situation. Fortunately, doctors were able to save her. "They're not educated, the company is not educated. They're not educating the doctors. My problem was ignored."

Bayer's spokeswoman, Rosemarie Yancosek, stated, "We are saddened to hear of any serious health condition affecting a patient using one of our products, irrespective of the cause. No form of birth control is without risk or should be considered appropriate for every women."

Brockovich's campaign has spread awareness about the potential dangers with this form of birth control. Hopefully, this campaign will influence women to consider their options and do their research to find a product that best fits their lives.

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